I’d like to share with you page 59 of Andy Sernovitz’s excellent book Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, because it’s the page that’s worth the entire price of the book.
Back when I tried to explain what this blog was all about — and by extension, what our company is all about — I did some clumsy skirting of some the concepts I’m about to share below. Sernovitz perfectly crystallizes my own mindset when it comes to marketing in an age where the old rules no longer apply, and I think this is some of the best advice out there when it comes to honest marketing and brand-building. So here it is, and if you like what you see here, then I suggest buying and reading the whole book. It’s fantastic.
There’s a lot of talk about radical transparency and naked conversations and how they are ideas that should fit into a culture and how companies are trying to adopt them as part of their brand strategy. What many fail to realize is that transparency and honesty are mandatory, not “initiatives’ that show up as PowerPoint bullets in a planning presentation: if you don’t believe in them, or you think you can game the system, you’re wrong. The conversation is already happening out there, and you can either be part of it or move into isolation. Eventually, what you decide to do will be talked about by your customers, your employees, your competitors. So you can join in, have some fun, and maybe learn a thing or two about your customers and how you service them, or you can fear the conversation and be marginalized. Your choice.